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Village Winery Holding Vertical Tasting

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Four Cabs Plus a Sneak Peak

By Eva Potter

While you may not see acres of grapevines growing around Ellicottville, there is a local, award-winning winery that should be on your “Best of Ellicottville” list.

The Winery of Ellicottville, at 14 Monroe St. in the village, has been creating fine vintages since 2009, but the proprietors have a long winemaking tradition dating back to 1968 when Dominic Spicola’s father, Francesco, brought the family’s winemaking tradition from Italy. In 2010, Dominic and his son-in-law, Sam Sheehy, opened the Winery of Ellicottville’s doors to share their love of wine and winemaking with visitors.

You can stop at the winery’s tasting room any time they are open to sample and learn about their wines, but on Saturday, March 14, ticketholders will experience a different tasting format—a vertical wine tasting of four delicious vintages of their Cabernet Sauvignon.

What is a vertical wine tasting?

“A normal tasting at the winery would include a tasting of six wines from the menu — our current vintages,” explained Sheehy. “A vertical wine tasting is simply tasting the same wine from different vintages. In this case, we are going to taste our Cabernet Sauvignon from 2010, 2011, 2012, the unreleased 2013, and more than likely sneak a sample from barrels that are aging — so the unreleased 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, too.”

Starting at 6 p.m., Sheehy and winemaking consultant Bob Green will guide tasters as they travel through the years. Green has more than 30 years of winemaking experience under his belt and has had an influence on the direction of each of the wines to be sampled, making him the perfect tour guide.

As guests sip and swirl Cabs from these distinct vintages, they will see this wine’s gorgeous red hues, inhale its rich aroma and watch as its legs cling and flow down the glass. Cabernet Sauvignon is a widely recognized grape variety known for making medium- to full-bodied wines with high tannins and hints of currant, black cherry, plum, vanilla and herbs.

According to Sheehy, all their Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are sourced from the same vineyard in the Finger Lakes each year, which would lead you to conclude that each vintage will more or less taste the same, but that’s certainly not the case. Variations in the fruit’s ripeness, summer weather conditions, barrel type and length of aging all contribute to each year’s distinct personality.

To complement the wines, house chef John Haley will prepare an assortment of light dishes that guests can sample while sipping, including cheeses, bread and olives.

Sheehy said, “This is the only opportunity to try the wines together, and we may have a few bottles of past vintages for sale.”

Tickets for this event are $20. Space is limited. Please call (716) 699-1055 for reservations.

Can’t make it? Then stop in the tasting room to sample and purchase the 18-plus wines currently offered. You’ll also find many wine-related products, such as wine racks, aprons, mugs, corkscrews and napkins. You can even take a tour of the facility. More details at www.wineryofellicottville.com.

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